Demands for government action to cut immigration queues at Heathrow may be compromised by public desire for tougher UK border controls.

Exclusive research for Travel Weekly found two-thirds of a sample of 500 UK adults thought border controls should be tougher despite the well-publicised delays for passengers arriving at Heathrow.

The survey by Explore Research, carried out at the weekend, coincided with reports of lengthy queues of inbound passengers at Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

The findings contrasted with UK holidaymakers’ dislike of visa controls when they travel abroad, revealed in the same survey.

Explore Research found 50% of respondents “might be discouraged” from travelling to a destination requiring a visa, depending on the cost or the demands of the visa-application process. Another 15% said a visa requirement would be a definite discouragement.

About two-thirds of the adults surveyed had visited a country requiring an entry visa. The same proportion said they would consider whether a visa was required when choosing a destination.

Younger adults were more likely to take visa requirements into consideration. Almost three-quarters (73%) of 18-34 year-olds said they would consider the requirements when choosing a destination compared with 54% of those aged 55 or above.

However, younger travellers were more relaxed about visas for inbound visitors to the UK, just over half (53%) saying controls should be tougher compared with more than three quarters (78%) of adults aged 55-plus.

More than one in two (56%) of the older group thought UK border control “should be a lot tougher”.

Head of Explore Research Katie Bryan-Brown said: “British residents want to see tighter controls in place even amid concerns about queues at Heathrow ahead of the Olympics.”